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Romanian Foreign Minister criticizes President Basescu’s remarks on Moldova

November 30, 2013, 1:20 updated at: November 30, 2013, 2:20 UTC+3 BUCHAREST
The claims that the unification with Moldova will be a priority objective of Bucharest’s foreign policy are harmful and out of place, Corlatean said
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BUCHAREST, November 30, 1:14 /ITAR-TASS/. Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean has leveled criticism at a statement on the hypothetical unification with Moldova that the country’s President, Trajan Basescu, made earlier this week.

The claims that the unification with Moldova will be a priority objective of Bucharest’s foreign policy are harmful and out of place, Corlatean said.

“Statements of this kind not only don’t help but, on the contrary, they do much damage and put up more obstacles in the pathway of Moldova’s accession to the EU,” he said, adding that “hard work” is being done in this field and the claims potentially hurtful for people’s feelings may only cause irritation.

Basescu said in an interview with the Romanian national television Wednesday that unification with Moldova, the neighboring country speaking practically the same language and being ethnically a branch-out of the Romanian nation, will become a new fundamental project for Romania.

“Romania’s first fundamental state project was getting NATO’s membership,” he said. “Project number two was accession to the EU, and now unification with Moldova should become a doubtless project number three.”

“A people seeking to live together will never surrender,” Basescu said with an obvious reference to the fact that the parts of Moldova westwards of the right-hand bank of the River Dniester were a province of the Romanian Kingdom between World War I and World War II and that a sizable enough section of Moldovans feels rather pro-Romanian these days.

“I don’t mean politicians here,” he said. “All my actions related to Moldova have been linked to the idea of a possible reunification. I know this isn’t the right moment now but this will happen anyway.”

When the host of the program asked him whether he had taken counsel on his remarks with Titus Colatean, Basescu answered: “My duty is to set the tune to politics. And do you think Mr. Corlatean doesn’t wish reunification with Moldova?”

Basescu’s utterances caused indignation among public quarters and many politicians in Moldova. Moldovan opposition met him with an action of protest when he arrived on an unofficial visit in Chisinau Friday.

He came to the Moldovan capital to take part in National Unity Day. According to reports in the local media, one more goal of his visit was to congratulate the Moldovan government on the occasion of initialing an association agreement between that country and the EU, which took place on the same day at a summit of the EU’s ‘Eastern Partnership’ format in Vilnius, Lithuania.

In spite of the opposition’s protests, the Moldovan authorities organized festive concerts and fireworks in connection with National Unity Day.

In the meantime, an opinion poll taken by the INSCOP Research sociological service showed that public opinion in Romania is split as regards the prospects for unification with Moldova.

For instance, about 25% Romanians feel confident unification with Moldova will take place one day while another 25% believe Moldova will join the EU.

On the face of it, 28% of those polled said they do not expect any geopolitical changes in the region in the future. As many as 52% respondents think Russia’s geopolitical influence in the region is the main obstacle to unification of the two countries.

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